George Osborne has been accused of “bitterness and bile” over his attacks on Theresa May.
Conservative backbencher Jacob Rees-Mogg hit out at the former chancellor, who is now editor of the London Evening Standard, a position he has used to launch a series of blistering attacks on the Prime Minister.
Claims that Mr Osborne, who was unceremoniously sacked by Mrs May when she took office last year, is pursuing a vendetta against the PM have been further fuelled by a recent magazine profile.
The Esquire piece said Mr Osborne is reported to have told colleagues he will not rest until Mrs May is “chopped up in bags in my freezer”.
In a withering put down, Mr Rees-Mogg told LBC radio: “The sadness of George Osborne is that he is a formidably able man, he served with distinction as Chancellor of the Exchequer, and has decided since leaving Parliament to emulate a rather less successful Edward Heath.
“I think this kind of bitterness and bile ends up making the person who has that bitterness and bile feel resentful and sad and has no effect on broader politics.
“His firepower diminishes with every bitter outburst and for so able a man that is something we should be sad about rather than particularly condemning.”
Admitting he “very rarely” reads the Standard, the North East Somerset MP added: “It’s a local paper, it’s not a national paper.
“I think if it doesn’t like Mrs May for bilious reasons, its impact will diminish.”
Mr Rees-Mogg, who was described in a recent satirical news piece as having been sent from 1923 to save his party, again talked down suggestions he could one day lead the Tories.
Despite topping a poll of party members on who should succeed Mrs May, Mr Rees-Mogg insisted “no one serious” believes he is a viable candidate.
He admitted the so-called Moggmentum was “great fun while it lasts”, but stated he had no wish to ascend to the top job and was “fully supporting” Mrs May.
Mr Rees-Mogg also took aim at European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, saying he was “in cloud cuckoo land” with his plans for closer EU integration.
The Government should not pay Brussels “a brass farthing” in its withdrawal settlement, he claimed, and said Britain should simply leave its border with Ireland open and dare the EU to impose checks from the other side.
Challenged over the recent growth in the number of food banks, Mr Rees-Mogg said this was down to a change in rules allowing JobCentre staff to tell clients of their availability.
“To have charitable support given by people voluntarily to support their fellow-citizens I think is rather uplifting and shows what a good, compassionate country we are,” he said.
“Inevitably, the state can’t do everything, so I think that there is good within food banks.
“The real reason for the rise in numbers is that people know that they are there and Labour deliberately didn’t tell them.”
(c) Sky News 2017: Osborne accused of ‘bitterness and bile’ over attacks on May